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Excitement builds for 'Christmas in the Village'

by jmaloni
Sat, Nov 27th 2010 10:50 am
Holiday decorating is under way along the Main Street strip in Youngstown as the village readies for next month's `Christmas in the Village` celebration. (photo by Terry Duffy)
Holiday decorating is under way along the Main Street strip in Youngstown as the village readies for next month's "Christmas in the Village" celebration. (photo by Terry Duffy)
by Terry Duffy

Plans are shaping up nicely for a holiday celebration in Youngstown next month that's anticipated by organizers to be one of the best ever.

"Christmas in the Village," presented by the Village of Youngstown Recreation Department and the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, will take place on Saturday Dec. 11, from noon to 7 p.m. at locations scattered throughout the community.

Claudia Andres, Youngstown Recreation Commission member, reports that village and YBPA organizers have been planning for the 2010 event in earnest over past months, evaluating past year's celebrations -- what's been popular, what's worked, and what hasn't.

"Years ago, this was a really big deal with Christmas groups, activities," says Andres. "Then it became a children's Christmas celebration, then it was ‘Boxes of Caring.' "

She says that, this year, organizers picked among the best of past celebrations to plan for what they hope will be a fun holiday event for all ages. "Planning has gone really well; many have gotten involved with it," she adds.

"Christmas in the Village" opens at noon at the Village Red Brick Community Center, with a take-away crafts activity offered for children ages 3-10 until 3 p.m. in the gym. Included will be a "Boxes of Caring" decoration contest for the kids.

Throughout the day, there will be holiday happenings aplenty for visitors to partake in:

  • A Christmas Market in the Red Brick gym, will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. Andres reports that upwards of 20 artisan vendors from throughout the Buffalo and Niagara County area will be participating. Items expected to be available for purchase include: Christmas greens and decorations; jewelry tables; handmade candies; handcrafted woods; military items and clothing; historical items; foods, fruits and vegetables, along with preserves from local growers; crafts of all types; clothing items; handcrafted local wool and felt items; and local history books with author signings.

Andres reports one happening to checkout is Santa's Workshop, taking place in the basement area of the Red Brick. Geared for the little ones, area Girl Scouts will be on hand, assisting children who will be able to visit, select and purchase a gift, and help out with the wrapping.

"It's one of my favorites," Andres says, urging "Christmas in the Village" visitors to check it out. "Parents can drop off their kids; the Girls Scouts are here. It's a safe environment. It's inexpensive; the kids can visit and can decorate their own gifts for their parents."

  • Activities at businesses such as hair care stocking stuffers and servings of coffees, Baileys and doughnuts at Victoria's Hair Care, 354 Main St., and wine tasting at Anchor Spirits, 113 Lockport St. Both run from 1 to 6 p.m.
  • Horse carriage rides, available from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. throughout the village, provided by International Weddings and Carriage Rides of WNY.
  • Lewiston Choraleers concert at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, 100 Church St.
  • The Fort Niagara Encampment, taking place from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Falkner Park. Expected are living history re-creations of life at the fort during the 1700s and 1800s, complete with participants in period apparel, tent setups, food cooking, fires, and military exhibits.
  • A free children's celebration at the Youngstown Firehall, 625 Third St., from 3 to 5 p.m. Included will be visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, visits with Chex the Balloon Man, cookie decorating, face-painting and more.
  • A Victorian tea, presented from 2 to 4 p.m. by the Women's Study Clubs of Youngstown, in the Cora Gushee Room of the Red Brick.
  • A spaghetti dinner and basket auction, presented as a fundraiser by Kids Count and offered from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, 100 Church St. An admission fee is charged. The event includes a "Basket of Caring" auction featuring decorated baskets donated by residents. Each is filled with assorted winter wear items, from stocking hats to scarves and gloves.
  • Christmas musical offerings from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Falkner Park, followed by a tree lighting at 5:30 with various Village of Youngstown and Town of Porter officials expected.
  • A 7 p.m. candlelight carol concert at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown.

Andres adds that, throughout the day, the village will be filled with carolers and costumed characters strolling about and spreading holiday cheer. The event will also see musical groups performing, food and drink samples by local businesses, and specials by area restaurants.

Speaking of businesses, Andres points out that, thus far, their response to being a part of this year's celebration has been impressive. "Everyone has been very positive so far," she says, noting that businesses have been donating goods and services as well as contributing financially toward the celebration. "And the interest keeps building."

Indeed it does. The YBPA has been building momentum via word of mouth and online, and urges all to become involved. "Take part in this celebration," reads a YBPA Facebook post. "Please consider opening your business or hall on Saturday afternoon and schedule a singing group, craft workshop, theater group, bell ringers, instrumentalists, cookies and hot chocolate, or whatever your holiday imagination can dream up.

"Youngstown offers a few great small town celebrations during the year -- let's make this one as successful as the others by really coming together as a community."

With lighting displays going up and decorations dotting the village, YBPA and the Village of Youngstown invite all residents throughout northern Niagara to keep the day open and be a part of what they hope will be a memorable holiday event.

All that's needed is a white wintry weekend to make it complete.

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